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Searching for Truth in Chinese Boxing Yin/Yang Conditioning - Ray Hager's Column

Ray Hager

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April 2013

Can You Mix Yin And Yang Workouts in the same training session and if so how?

Yin must always lead to Yang and Yang must always lead to Yin. Whether or not they are balanced and seamlessly integrated or not is the real question. Most conventional combat conditioning is in the unbalanced, eclectic, and non-integrated 1Yin/9Yang energy range.

In the pursuit of “Realistic Truth in Chinese Boxing Combat Conditioning” 5Yin/5Yang Balanced Energy Development is the name of the game. You want to train to be able to achieve a changeable Yin (no momentum) focused workout at certain times and a changeable Yang (plenty momentum) focused workout at other times. This is the way to make continuous gains in Chinese Boxing 5Yin/5Yang Combat Training. This will fine tune each and help your Yin/Yang seamless integration into one another. To start you divide your workout into 3 parts: a Warm up, a Core or the main body of your workout, and a Cool down. For a one hour workout you want to have a 15 min warm up and 15 min cool down that will leave you 30 minutes for the core of your workout. You want to devote half of your Yin/Yang Workout to warming up and cooling down and half to the core. You can do a Yin Warm Up – Core – and Cool Down or a Yang Warm up – Core - and Cool Down, or mix and match any combination of them. This Yin/Yang Body State Oscillating is “THE” great skill to achieve. It is worthy of a life long pursuit if you want a long training life because all you’re other energy skills will be tempered through them. When and how long you train these combinations can make all the difference in you making gains year after year or not.

Some people take to Yin Training easier and some people take to Yang Training easier. Don’t be surprised if one comes easier to you then the other. A mark of a “High Eyed” Chinese Boxer is that he or she will spend all the time necessary working on balancing the aspects of their training that do not come easy as well as the things that do come easy for him or her. This Focused Energy Development is vital in order to keep improving your Chinese Boxing 5Yin/5Yang Balance, in all your Mental and Physical Training. Once you have achieved this level of “ Centered Energy ” you can now start applying it to Western Exercise Techniques just as we do to Eastern Martial Techniques and for the same reason.


Recommended Reading:

Chinese Boxing Synthesis

Core Curriculum

(Searching For Truth In Realistic Combat)

By James Cravens

With The “Revised Yin/Yang Conditioning Board Edition” If You already have the book without the revised Yin/Yang Conditioning board Professor Cravens and I are going to be producing a bulletin with the revised Conditioning Board and Periodic Updates.

(Please let us know if you are interested in the revised bulletin)

Also Chinese Mind Hit Boxing Secrets Of Kai Sai Kung Fu (A study in esoteric energy methods) by C. G. Casey the first chapter: What is Mind Hit Boxing Yin/Yang thinking in a combat context.

As Mike Mentzer (1976 Mr. America 1978 Mr. Universe) my friend and first Bodybuilding Trainer from 1974 to 1978 once advised me, "If your training is not producing the gains you want, try doing what your trainer told you to do in the first place." I’m glad to see that phrase again being passed around in Personal Training and Chinese Boxing Circles. It is still just as true today.

For those that may be interested in studying Chinese Boxing 5Yin/5Yang Combat Conditioning, Personal Training, Group Training or phone consultation with Ray, you can e-mail Ray for more information.

Next time we will take a look at applying Balanced Yin/Yang Combat Conditioning Energy to some common Western Exercise Techniques such as (Yin/Isometrics), (Yang/Plyometrics).

December, 2012

This is in response to a question about warm ups and cool downs.

"The Art Of Warming Up and Cooling Down" (WU/CD)

Most everyone knows that Warming Up and Cooling Down is important, but everyone may not know how important or complex WU/CD is. The Art and Science of WU/CD is deep and essential for you to know, if you want a long and continuously Productive Training Life.

Here are just a few points you may want to consider. When you do a proper INTERNAL WU/CD. You will be coaxing your Body and Mind through a specific hormonal cascade, which redistributes blood, lymphatic fluid, opens the bottom half of your lungs to increase CO2 output, increases body temperature, lubricates joints, alerts your nervous system, aligns your skeletal system, and increases your awareness of your surroundings. These are just a few changes WU/CD can bring to your Body and Mind. Your WU/CD can make all the difference in your injury prevention and healing time.

A couple years ago I produced a Yin/Yang Ground Boxing DVD with two very extensive WU/CDs. Sifu Rick Lupe, a Chinese Boxing Senior Instructor for the Chinese Boxing Institute International, my friend and 20 yr. Boxing Brother, has been in Top Physical Condition since the 70s. He told me he liked the WU/CDs in the DVD as much if not more then the workout itself. He told me he would sometimes do the WU/CDs as his workout for the day whenever he was short on time. This was a great compliment since I consider Sifu Rick a Master Trainer/Boxer.

Here are just a few Ideas for different types of "Internal Yin/Yang Combat Conditioning" WU/CDs:


Yin WU/CDs usually start farthest from the Heart and Waist, at the Wrist, Ankles, Neck, Head then Elbows and Knees then Shoulders and Hips each spot is Rolled in Circles and Stretched with No Momentum.

Yang WU/CDs usually start closest to the Heart and Waist with a Gentle Slinging Motion that moves the Wrist and Elbows and Shoulders With Momentum and then the Waist does a G/S/M or gentle slinging motion that moves the Ankles, Knees, and Hips and finally the Waist does a G/S/M (gentle slinging motion that moves the Neck and Head.

Stillness WU/CDs usually starts in WuJi or Santi (Hsing-i's main posture) with Balance as your Energizer by going on one leg with you Leaning your Upper Body Forward and bringing your Leg Back behind you until your horizontal to the floor, then bringing your Upper Body backwards and your Leg forward until you are horizontal to the floor, then bringing your Upper Body sideways and your Leg sideways until your horizontal to the floor. You repeat the same movement on both sides. Hold each Balance Position including WuJi/Santi for 30 seconds.

A word here about the Importance of "Cool Downs". Just as you need to coax your hormones in the Warm Up to bring your Body and Mind through a specific hormonal cascade, cool downs will redistribute the blood, lymphatic fluids and now relaxes your lungs and normalizes your CO2 output. It decreases body temperature, removes acid toxins from your joints, muscles and blood, calms down your nervous system, realigns your skeletal system and readjusts your awareness of your surroundings. Just like at the race track when the Multimillion Dollar Race Horses finish a Race, the owners never just let the horse go straight to the barn, they walk them around the track to Cool them Down and always give them extensive rubdowns before they let the horse go to the barn and stop moving.

A great "WAY" to see how WU/CDs can improve your training, is to do the exact same "COOL DOWN as your "WARM UP" and see the difference in how well you can do it, how much your flexibility increases, your ease of breath and how well you feel in just one workout.

Everything we've discussed above has pertained to the "Science of WU/CDs". To keep your Mind and Body from getting BORED and UN ENERGIZED lets take a quick look at some Ideas for the "The Art of WU/CDs" to stimulate your creativity you can do all three of the WU/CDs. . . . "Yin WU/CD", "Yang WU/CD", and "Stillness WU/CD" while Standing, Squatting, Kneeling, Sitting, and Laying. Also you can use any of the "Chinese Boxing Duels" for all three of the WU/CDs including Stillness. It's the INTERNAL part of YIN/YANG WU/CDs that makes it an ART.


September, 2012

John from Ireland asked Ray about the mention of the advanced workouts being 4 Yin workouts per day seven days a week with the Yang work out being five in one day, one day a week. This is a lot of workout time, so he asked for clarification.

Ray's response....


Thanks for your sincere thoughtful interest in Chinese Boxing Yin/Yang Combat Conditioning.

The greatest difficulty in learning Yin/Yang Combat Conditioning is finding a Certified Senior Energy Instructor with "TOUCH".  A Certified Senior Energy Instructor is one who has reached Instructor level in both Chinese Boxing Synthesis and Chinese Boxing Yin/Yang Combat Conditioning. Each require one to Control Energy and have "Touch". "TOUCH" is what separates Chinese Boxers from all other martial artist. One destroys and impairs Chi Flow in your opponent, one repairs and improves Chi Flow in your partner, both can be achieved here at the Chinese Boxing Institute International.

As far as your question about The Advanced Yin/Yang Combat Conditioning Workouts, they are for Chinese Boxing Instructors who do this for a living or anyone who has the desire for excellence, a long healthy life span, and can make the time to train. Some Chen Village Tai Chi Masters say 6 hrs a day is not too long, and time well spent.

Yes I do mean up to 28 Yin workouts, 4 workouts a day over 7 days, in 1 week and 5 Yang Workouts on the same day, 1 day a week.  It is the lack of understanding and the inability to do a True Yin or Yang Workout, that has caused over/under/incomplete training with injuries that have lead to short  training careers. This is why we have beginners and advanced hard style MMA Trainers doing only 1 or 2 Yin workouts 7 days a week and only 1 or 2 Yang workouts 1 day a week in the beginning. Anymore would simply be too many Yang workouts and lead to over training, since they cant quite do a True Yin Workout until they can learn to Center, Relax and become Changeable.

This article is not the place to give an in depth analysis, but it can point to what a True Yin or a Yang Workout could and should be. Both Yin and Yang Workouts need to be done Centered, Relaxed and Changeable. Otherwise they are useless to a Chinese Boxer.

In general a Yin Workout will be longer ( 20 to 40 minutes) with Slower Movement and little or no Momentum at a conversational pace (you can talk easily while training). This will allow your body to use fat for energy and stay in a Anabolic State (non aging). You recuperate even as you are still training, thus you do up to 4 Yin Workouts a day, 7 days a week, but do not do exercises that use the same few joints over and over ( as in bike riding, running, tennis etc ). The Chinese Boxing Synthesis Form and any of the 3 Great Internal Forms, Yin Breathing,Yin Stillness, Yin Applications and Yin Dueling Rotations all are Excellent Yin Exercises. After a TRUE Yin Workout you should actually feel better, more relaxed and refreshed as if you just had a Great Massage.

In general a Yang Workout will be much shorter ( 10 to 20 Min's) with Explosive Movement and Momentum that you ride under your control, at a non conversational pace (very difficult to breathe or talk while training). This will force your body to use sugar for energy, your body will go into a Catabolic State (ageing) needing 6 days to recuperate. Weightlifting for  STRENGTH, Single and Double CHINESE BOXING Tire Training for POWER, Tai-Chi Cannon Fist Form for POWER, Yang Breathing, Yang Stillness, Yang applications, Yang Dueling are all excellent Yang Exercises. The purpose is to trigger a targeted release of Anabolic Hormones (non aging). Yin Workouts help reduce catabolic hormones (aging) far better than Yang Workouts or just sitting around, that's why you need Yin workouts over the next 6 days, to relax, recharge and rejuvenate, just in time for your Yang Workouts again.


Recommended Reading

Chinese Boxing Synthesis

Core Curriculum

Searching For Truth in Realistic Combat

By James Cravens

with the "Revised YIN/YANG Conditioning Board Edition"

if you already have the book without the revised YIN/YANG

Professor Cravens and I are going to producing a bulletin with the revised Board and Periodic Updates very soon.

Next Time

"THE ART OF WARMING UP AND COOLING DOWN " YIN Warm Ups and Cool Downs "verses" YANG Warm Ups and Cool Downs.

MMA Fighters Conditioning and a Chinese Boxing Perspective - Five Yin and Five Yang

August 2012

In viewing today’s MMA fighters, do you see any trends either positive or negative in the job they do related to their conditioning?

There are many positive trends.

First and foremost, because MMA is a “Combat Sport“ between honorable men, done at a prearranged time and location, with rules, on soft mats and witnesses to ensure safety, MMA sport fighters had to find a replacement for all the martial equalizers taken out by the rules (eye, spine, groin attacks, weight classes, weapons etc). This raised the importance of general conditioning as an awesome equalizer. The improved conditioning helped greatly no matter what martial arts they were mixing.

Secondly, the physical and mental fitness level is now on par with most Olympic athletes and better then many of them. Look at their conditioning fifteen year ago in the UFC compared to today.

Third, the general training lifestyle they have to lead while training for a fight boost integrity of character, long term vision, goal setting and many more valuable life habits which could pay rich dividends for the rest of their life.

On the other hand I do see some problematic trends with where MMA fighters are at this point in time. I don’t necessarily see them as negative, but more as a point on the same road we are on that they may have not yet traveled, thought about or reached.

In the first place, because Chinese Boxing Yin/Yang Combat Conditioning is training for a Self Defense Street War against dishonorable men, without notice, at any location with no rules, on hard surfaces that may be slippery with gravel and broken glass, in big and small spaces, with no safety measures preset for anyone involved, we have to be in shape 24/7 365 days a year. To reach that objective, “Yin/Yang Combat Conditioning” divides our Chinese Boxing conditioning into Yin workouts and Yang workouts. Our goal is to achieve a Mind/Body conditioning level of Five Yin and Five Yang. The Yin conditioning workouts are low intensity and long duration. Yang Conditioning workouts are high intensity and short duration. Most MMA guys are nine yang and one yin in their training and thinking. Why is that so?


• Because the MMA guys do mostly high intensity workouts with long duration, their injury level is far too high and careers far too short to be acceptable. The same can be said for military boot camp, pro football etc.

• Because MMA guys train for a single predetermined fight day, the guys are constantly getting into and out of shape. Sometimes this happens to the extreme so that many MMA guys are unrecognizable since they get out of shape between fights.

• The way MMA guys do their conditioning is usually off center, not relaxed and not changeable. Leaping through the air and landing on hard surfaces, pushing 100% on giant tires, 100% sprinting with cables tied too them etc., so that if any of those moments in their training required sudden yielding or balanced change, they would surely fail.

Yin/Yang Combat Conditioning recommends to our beginner students: One Changeable Yin workout seven days a week and One Changeable Yang workout one day a week. Advanced Training Workouts usually are Four Yin workouts Seven days a week, Five Yang workouts one day a week. Saturday is the big Yin/Yang Chinese Boxing Conditioning day at our location.

With this Yin/Yang training schedule many of us at the Institute have been able to make steady gains into our late fifties, and with continued good grace and Yin/Yang Combat Conditioning, we will be allowed to make gains into extreme old age and beyond.

Recommended Reading

Chinese Mind Hit Boxing Secrets of Kai Sai Kung Fu (A study in esoteric energy methods) by C. G. CASEY the first chapter: What is Mind Hit Boxing explains Yin Yang thinking in a combat context.

As my friend, Boxing Brother, and fellow Senior Instructor Joe Rae Phillips once said to me, “We must always keep our sword sharp.”

This book can be ordered in EBook format here.

For those that may be interested in studying Chinese Boxing Yin/Yang Combat Conditioning, Personal Training, Group Training or phone consultation with Ray, you can e-mail him for times and rates.

Next Time

What are some examples of

Yin and Yang Chinese Boxing Combat Conditioning Training?

Send your questions to Ray Hager and he will provide answers that may appear here on his column.